Lawyer asking for records tied to SMOC suit Friday, December 14, 2007
D. Craig MacCormack 508-626-4429 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM - The lawyer representing a dozen local officials this week filed several more public records requests tied to the federal lawsuit filed in October by SMOC, this time focusing on federal agencies.

The requests follow a set of documents mailed last week to several local and state agencies by Boston-based law firm Mintz Levin about Framingham-based South Middlesex Opportunity Council.  All public records requests must be answered within 10 days under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

The latest batch, sent Tuesday by Mintz Levin attorney Jeffrey Robbins and his associates, included requests from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, asking for all documents related to SMOC since 2000.

The requests also included one sent Waltham City Clerk Rosario Malone asking for all SMOC-related correspondence, including information about background checks and financial information.

In its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, SMOC charges a dozen town officials and two private citizens with engaging in "a coordinated effort" to push disabled people from town.

Last week, Mintz Levin's Joseph Lipchitz sent public records requests to almost a dozen state and local agencies, asking for all communication since 2000 with and about SMOC, including information tied to complaints about and compliance by the social service agency and SMOC's requests for state funding.

Requests went to Marlborough City Clerk Lisa Thomas, the state Department of Youth Services, state Department of Elder Affairs, Worcester City Clerk David Rushford, Spencer Town Clerk Jean Mulhall, state Department of Correction, state Department of Transitional Assistance, state Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, state Department of Social Services, Northbridge Town Clerk Doreen Cedrone and state Department of Mental Health.

Robbins sent a public records request to Cooper and James Hanrahan, asking for information on SMOC's criminal background check policy and information from the Department of Public Health's March 2007 drug-related investigation of the former Sage House at 61 Clinton St. and any corrective action SMOC was required to undertake as a result of the findings.

Lipchitz also sent follow-up records requests to the Department of Correction, Department of Public Health, Department of Social Services and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services regarding the Sage House investigation and SMOC's background check policies, among other things.

Mintz Levin recently sent SMOC the first group of public records it had requested from Framingham in September and October, saying more will be sent as Robbins reviews the documents involved.

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